And now I don't have to because Tor has published this nifty guide to the scary man's fictional realms.
China Miéville’s presence looms over genre fiction. Over the course of a dozen books, Miéville has ranged freely across categories and classifications – epic and urban fantasy, social and hard science fiction, crime, horror and more. And in each case, he addresses, dances with, pokes at and, ultimately, departs from, the traditions and expectations therein. Although many thousands of words have been written trying to put Miéville’s work into neat buckets (“New Weird!” “Fantastika!” “Literary Speculation!” “Hauntological Slipstream!” “Tentacular Metafusion!”), time has proven that a China Miéville book is ultimately, well – Miévillian. The man is a category unto himself.
They've got hand little McNugget sized write ups of all his main novels, and they're almost enough to get me to read them. But I can't get past the insect nookie. I think it was in Perdido Street Station.
No pressure, but Perdido Street Station (2000) is probably the Single Best Fantasy Ever Written. And part of that is because it contains, as Whitman said, ‘multitudes’. A disgruntled scientist and his allies – including a de-winged hawkperson, rebellious, um, steampunk cyborgs?, a bug-headed artist, and a badger – all tackle one of the great mysteries of the universe. Also, a shamelessly corrupt government. And nightmarish dream-eating insects. Also contains: adorably traditional adventuring parties, robot mobsters, the Ambassador of Hell, swashbuckling mantis-armed bandits, shapeless horrors, and Devices That Tamper With the Stuff of Reality. All set in the bizarre and ceaselessly tantalising metropolis of New Crobuzon.
Thematically, Perdido is just as ambitious, with discussions of free will and agency and the rule of law and rebellion and causality and governance and and and and… you name it, and you can find it in here. If you want the One Book to Bring Them All And in The (Oversized) Paperback Bind Them, this is the one.